Choosing the right fridge starts with selecting the right size. Determine how wide, tall and deep your new unit can and ensure that you’ve got room in front for the doors to open fully. Make sure to account for your doorway size, as the fridge will need to pass through them when being installed.
Equipped with either top or bottom freezers, they conveniently come in widths of up to 30 inches for standard-depth models or 33 inches for counter-depth varieties making them the perfect choice for smaller kitchen spaces.
Counter-depth refrigerators are an elegant solution designed to blend seamlessly into your kitchen design by being level with your existing countertops. They’re usually between 23 and 27 inches deep.
Freestanding Counter-depth Refrigerators
Freestanding counter-depth refrigerators have finished sides and do not need to be secured or fastened. They aren’t as deep as most freestanding units but are generally wider to compensate for space. They’re usually less expensive than a built-in but offer a similar sleek contour design.
Built-in Counter-depth Refrigerators
Built-in counter-depth refrigerators have unfinished sides and an evaporator mounted at the top. Due to the top-heavy nature of this design, built-in refrigerators need to be secured to the surrounding cabinetry and wall. They are constructed to blend in with the rest of the kitchen cabinetry rather than being installed as a separate unit.
When searching for a new refrigerator, it's important to find one that fits your needs and your space. Measuring before you buy will ensure your new fridge fits nicely and helps make delivery and installation a breeze.
The Best Fridge Capacity for Your Household
Refrigerators are available in a wide range of capacities, from compact units with around 3 cubic feet of space to large, family-sized units that feature upwards of 30 cubic feet.
In a two-person household, you will need at least 10 cubic feet of space, excluding freezer storage. In larger households, a good rule of thumb is to add 1.5 cubic feet of refrigeration space for each additional person. Overall, 21 cubic feet of refrigeration/freezer space should suffice for an average-sized family.
Some other things you should take into consideration when deciding on your fridge capacity are:
- If you dine out frequently, you may be able to purchase a smaller unit.
- Empty refrigerators operate with less efficiency than fully stocked units.
- If you frequently entertain guests, look for a unit with greater storage capacity.
- Consider adding a second refrigerator in your garage or basement if you need a great deal of extra space.
The primary means of storing food in your refrigerator are bins, shelves, drawers and baskets, so don't forget to consider all these features when you are choosing your new fridge. Here are some tips on what to look for when buying a new refrigerator:
- If you like to keep large amounts of milk or juice on hand, look for door bins capable of holding larger containers.
- Many refrigerators have wire shelves, which allow spills to fall through and splatter items below. For easy cleanup and spill control, look for units with spill-proof glass shelves.
- Adjustable shelving allows you to move them up and down to create space for large dishes while wine racks, snack trays and lift-out baskets in the freezer provide other organizational options.
- Look for crispers with humidity controls. Different fruits and vegetables require different amounts of humidity to remain crisp, and these drawers offer the ability to set levels depending on what you're storing.
- Bins with adjustable heights can accommodate a wider range of food and beverage containers.
- Sliding shelves make it easier to reach items placed toward the back of the refrigerator.
- Deli trays allow you to store large platters of meats, cheeses and hors d'oeuvres.
- Built-in beverage holders keep canned or bottled beverages neat, orderly and easily accessible.
While storage capacity, efficiency and features are probably the most important aspects to consider, don’t overlook style. Your refrigerator will likely last for many years, so its important to select a model that will fit in with your changing tastes and continue to look great over time.